Like many West African nations, Sierra Leone has suffered from civil war, corruption, unemployment and poverty. Nevertheless the country is rich in natural resources, including diamonds, gold and titanium. Despite its small size, Sierra Leone has a diverse environment that includes mountains, rainforest, plains and mangroves. Lack of forest management has led to deforestation. Though there are many ethnic groups, most people can speak the Krio language. Music plays an important role in the culture. Maringa music includes Trinidadian elements, whereas Gumbe is more West African in its style. The capital, Freetown, was founded as a settlement for freed slaves from Nova Scotia, and the cotton tree beneath which the first arrivals prayed is a national landmark. Its harbour is one of the world’s largest. Groundnut stew is the national dish, and cassava and okra are common vegetables. Fish is also an important food source, though stocks have declined owing to a lack of fishery protection. The climate is tropical, with a rainy season. The Outamba-Kilimi National Park, a mixture of jungle and savannah, has animals like pygmy hippo, chimpanzees, colobus monkeys and elephants. The Sierra Leone River estuary has been classified as a wetland of international importance.
|Capital of Sierra Leone||Freetown|
|Language||Krio, English, Mende, Temne|
|Religion||Muslim, Indigenous beliefs|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC +0)|
|Dialing code of Sierra Leone||+232|
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